During the holiday season, we tend to get so caught up with preparing feasts, and events, and decorations, and gifts, that we forget things that really matter. ‘Tis the season to be jolly. But more than this, ’tis the season to bring joy to others. No matter how crazy things may have been throughout the year, we are still very lucky. A roof over your head, a warm place to sleep, a belly that doesn’t grumble in hunger for days at a time; these are the little things that we sometimes take for granted. But if you really think about it, you realize that life isn’t so bad. This is, considering that most of the things we’re used to are luxuries to other people. So how about we spend this holiday season helping others? Now you’re probably worried about everything that you have to spend for during the holiday season, and rightfully so. With all of the events and people you have to spend for during the holidays, the mere thought of additional expense can really make you cringe. So how do you go about this? It’s simple really: you buy gifts that keep on giving. This way, instead of making just the recipient happy, you make the recipient and get to contribute to these causes.

ASPECT – Autism Spectrum Australia

If you know someone who has autism, or have seen a documentary or movie about autism, then you know how much of a challenge it can be. It’s a lifelong disability and it doesn’t just affect the person with autism but also their families. ASPECT or Autism Spectrum Australia is the leading service provider for people with autism and other disabilities. Together with their supporters, ASPECT gives you unique gift ideas that give a significant percentage of sale to people and families of people with autism and disabilities. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about your typical t-shirts and key chains. Give your boss an impeccably assembled gourmet Christmas hamper. Give your girls, or your partner’s mother organic coconut oil skincare products. Shop online for your favourite local and international brands in GoThat.com. Get a 10% discount on purchases from Footprint Books, get free delivery, and smile knowing that proceeds all go to the projects of Aspect. You’ll find so many more fantastic gift ideas in the Autism Spectrum website. Shop for a cause and be a supporter of people with disabilities and autism.

Fight AIDS – iTunes Store Apps
If you’re like most people then you probably have that one friend who’s absolutely addicted to mobile games, it’s crazy. Here’s something they’d definitely like. Did you know that Apple has been working, and still continues to work with PRODUCT(RED) to help fight AIDS in Africa? Support the cause by simply purchasing the pro versions of some of your favorite apps and games. This year, all apps that had special red icons that were gifted or purchased from November 24 through January 7, had a portion of their proceeds donated to the global fund against AIDS. Some people had the idea to gift those instead of buying elsewhere for corporate Secret Santas. Now every time their colleagues play Angry Birds or Cut the Rope 2, they’re reminded how they (even in a little way) helped the world fight AIDS.

Gift a New Friend From Your Local Animal Shelter
Most people understand the importance of symbolically adopting a polar bear, or the importance of purchasing those quirky gift cards that donate to different causes. But when you’re giving a present to a child, cards with just words and pictures might be frowned upon. Here’s an idea: make your kid happy and give a new furry four-legged friend a new and proper home by adopting from your local animal shelter. Everything that you’ll be spending for in the shelter goes to building and maintaining facilities, and ensuring better care for the animals. You give an adorable and lovable creature a new home, and you get to see the sparkle of happiness in a kid’s eyes when he or she screams “puppy” even if it’s actually a cat.

Shop for a cause in these shops, or any of your local charities. There’s bound to be at least one in your area. Remember that this season is also about bringing joy to others. When you realize you’ve helped others, while fulfilling certain obligations; you’ll feel a different sense of joy. Happy Shopping and Happy Holidays!

Alpha Car Hire is a supporter of Variety.org. Visit their website for more information on how to bring joy to the wonderful children of Variety.